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Peter Mallory's Blog

By pmallory - Posted on 08 January 2014

15 December 2013

I have been called a fuddy duddy by more than one person for refusing to release The Sport of Rowing as an ebook. "Guilty as charged, your Honor!" It seems to me that that particular book of mine would only work as I intended it if all four volumes are spread out on the table in front of you . . . and a sturdy table at that!

But here I am the editor of the new ebook reissue of Fairbairn On Rowing, the first in more than 60 years, for Heaven's sake, available right now on Truthfully, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, feelings tugging me both ways, and I am not alone. Here is what Netherlands Head Coach Josy Verdonkschot has to say:

"We can only be very grateful that his work will be available to all new generations as an ebook. Although it obviously never beats an old fashioned hard cover with the smell of many decades ago. ;- )"

And I suppose with Fairbairn that is the point! He doesn't deserve to be left on the shelf of an antiquarian bookshop in San Francisco or Henley or Amsterdam or Budapest or Melbourne with a pricetag of many hundreds of dollars. He deserves his new ebook edition. He deserves to be universally read.

Josy: "I think Steve Fairbairn is relevant and will always be because of his basic understanding of how to move a boat, his focus on the propulsion, not on the rower’s motion. Whatever fancy equipment our biomechanists have invented and will invent, it is useless without the athletes’ feeling and their perception of the basics of rowing. In this respect I like to think that my starting point is not so different from him. I still browse his books sometimes. This brings me back to the basics and to the notion that some things never change.

"And in the process, it is pleasant reading."

Ebooks allow for a freer radiation of thoughts and ideas. Indeed, I am looking forward to the much-expanded third edition of my first book, An Out-of-Boat Experience, to come out in 2014 as an ebook. It will allow me to do things and reach people in ways I couldn't do otherwise.

A case in point:

Coxmate, the Australian manufacturer of advanced electronics for rowing, has recently turned ten, and to celebrate they have produced an interesting short ebook - The Future of Rowing. It contains interviews with ten people passionate about rowing, each bringing their unique perspective - from the Chairman of Henley Royal Regatta to an umpire, a journalist, coaches, a boatbuilder, a masters athlete, etc.

It’s a good read. Reminds me of that proverbial ideal dinner party where everyone around the table adds to a fascinating conversation.

And it's free.

Get your copy at Coxmate: The Future of Rowing ebook at